Greenway plans released for first time in HS2 statement

Kenilworth Greenway.'MHLC-22-01-14 Greenway Jan40
Kenilworth Greenway.'MHLC-22-01-14 Greenway Jan40

Cyclists and walkers are urged to seize their chance and help save Kenilworth’s Greenway from ‘destructive’ HS2 construction works.

Future plans for the family-friendly cycle route and Connect2Kenilworth path - which link up to Berkswell and the University of Warwick - are now out for consultation.

Kenilworth Greenway.'MHLC-22-01-14 Greenway Jan40

Kenilworth Greenway.'MHLC-22-01-14 Greenway Jan40

Under current proposals, the newly completed leisure and commuter network would cross the path of the high speed train line on it’s way from London to Birmingham.

And plans by HS2 Ltd to deal with the cross over include for the pathway to be diverted alongside construction work, and eventually permanently re sited over the tracks.

But the suggestions - which are being seen for the first time in maps as part of the HS2 environmental statement - have been branded as “destructive and devastating”.

John Whitehouse from the Greenway Trust is hoping the release of maps will spur users to fight for the facility which took years to build.

He said: “People who do not live near the HS2 route may not have given any thought to the consultation up to now.

“But this cycleway is very popular and used by hundreds of residents each week. It is under a big threat and if those users knew that they may look again and take action.

“In simple terms, the route that we sweated blood to create and which people love is going to be cut in half and users sent down an unsuitable muddy bridleway.

“Even after construction the Greenway would be changed forever.”

Users of the route have also raised fears over the loss of “wonderful natural beauty” and anger that the diversions would bring cyclists out onto the busy Red Lane.

It is understood a crossing would be created over Cromwell Lane and that the newly diverted pathway would eventually run alongside much of the high speed track.

Maps showing the proposals are available online, at Kenilworth Library or from the town council at Jubilee House.

Residents can submit their views until February 27 after two extensions to the initial eight-week consultation were accepted by HS2 Ltd.

MPs called for an initial extension, and this week Lords called for the new date to be extended even further.

All responses will go to an independent body for a report to be compiled. This report will go before MPs before the second reading of the bill in what campaigners argue could be the biggest chance to have their voices heard.

A HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “The standing order committees of both Houses of Parliament have now both ruled in favour of the hybrid bill’s progression and confirmed that it can proceed as planned with a short extension to the Environmental Statement consultation and we are happy to comply.”

A statement from the company continues to explain that all comments from the consultation will be published and made available to an independent assessor and to MPs at least 14 days before the second reading of the hybrid bill in Parliament later this year.